It is cold, but I have forgotten that the recumbent rides a little warmer than my other bike. I am not sure why, I am suspicious that a smoother airflow make for a warmer ride. In any case, University ave is not a ride in the country but it is a long almost imperceptible hill. No climbing involved, you just go a little slower than usual going the one way. As I get close to time to turn around I am close enough that I push forward to the edge of the Superstition wilderness and into the last houses in Apache Junction. I probably pushed my time limit a bit far as I was late getting to my rehearsal later. My knees acted up a little bit on the way back but not too badly. The great palisades of the flat iron are particularly impressive up close. I have not seen the half dome in Yosemite but I bet it is similar to this escarpment in grandeur.
I found out I don't have a lot of my bent muscles anymore and I needed to adjust the bicycle around to where it was comfortable again even if it wasn't quite so aero. I didn't have a bike computer on it so I didn't know how fast I was going but checking on mapmyride later I figure I went around 26-27 miles. That's the farthest I have gone since November.
In the afternoon I asked the kids if they wanted to go mountain biking or hiking and all but one voted for mountain biking. So I packed up the two 6 year old bikes, my 9 year old's bike and the trail a bike for my 4 year old. I really need to get a trailer or something to haul all these bikes around. The small bikes won't attach to racks because of their size so I end up having to strap them to the roof.
After fixing a flat on my bike at the trailhead we are off and raring to go. My boys and daughter have to walk the first hill, the first because their bikes don't have gears, and the second because she doesn't quite understand how to use her gears yet. From here though I am surprised as we take off up the trail through the cactus, creosote, and palo verdes. Large teddy bear cholla hold their arms far above my children's heads threatening to drop spiky balls as they weave in and out of the cacti and bushes.
As Joseph, Adela and I catch up to the other two at the first trail junction I am surprised that my daughter decides to go left up the moonrock trail. I haven't encouraged this in the past but I decide to let it ride and see what happens. The kids are caught in the thrill of explorations and tirelessly wander up the trail crossing creek after creek. I give tips to Joseph how to speed up down into the creeks so he can make it up the hills on the other side. I also remind him to use his brake instead of putting his feet down.
A few times Josh stops to walk a hill or two but I find Joseph has put my tips to great use and building speed before the hills manages to stay on the bike nearly all the way up to the blevins trail. I am astounded they have made it up here. Seeing as we are near the top I figure we should just go over to the upper parking lot and return on the Noso trail. I warn them to be careful though as there is a deep creek between here and the parking lot and I am sure Josh, being our little stuntman, would try and make it and hurt himself as the trail is steep and has trail bars across it. They follow directions (I know, I was surprised too!) and walk the creek and we have to stop again because they have sighted some playground equipment by one of the picnic tables now that we are up near the actual facilities of the park.
Soon we are off again needing to get back to the car so I can pick up the evening babysitter. The kids enjoy the next few miles of downhill enjoying the fruit of their spoils. I continue to be amazed that we have made it up here. There are a lot more trails open to us now that I know the kids can handle this stuff. as we enter an open space my four year old exclaims "Dad! I can see the whole town!". She was the one we had to kind of force out the door so this is good. I didn't even get any whining from the kids until we were about a quarter mile from the end and our little stuntman finding a straightway ahead of him as we ride along the levy, has suddenly become aware that he has not complained about the hard work to this point.
Taking a picture at the car I am amused by the poses of the kids. Kids find desert sticks while you are tying the bicycles to the roof and suddenly they are some sort of bicycling jedi kids. I am so pleased with them that a suggestion of dairy queen is pondered, and even granted. They have ridden 4 miles, most of it single track. That is probably the equivalent of 7 or 8 road miles. It has been a good day with the kids. Next week will be a hike since we have to make the one that didn't vote for biking this week happy.